Opinionated, honest and one helluva woman: Tributes pour in for Daily Mirror columnist Sue Carroll as she dies aged 58 after battle with cancer
Tributes poured in today for Daily Mirror columnist Sue Carroll as she lost her 18 month battle with cancer at the age of 58 on Christmas night.
The glamorous, feisty Fleet Street legend passed away peacefully in her sleep at her London home at around 11pm on Christmas Day.
She had fought a long battle with pancreatic cancer after being diagnosed with two tumours in July, 2010. It was the same illness that had killed her father.
“Heart and soul of the paper”: Daily Mirror of columnist Sue Carroll has died at the age of 58 after an 18-month battle with cancer
In a brave and candid column earlier this year, the writer revealed how an operation had failed to remove the twosmall tumours after it was discovered they were blocked by a major artery.
Carroll, who was born in Newcastle, moved to London in the 1970s where she began her career in tabloid journalism.
She joined the News of the World in 1979 before moving to The Sun as a writer.
Her working class upbringing and no nonsense attitude made her a hit with the readers: Carroll had a real knack for empathising with the reader and speaking their language, her admirers said.
Outspoken: Sue Carroll was a regular on the Alan Titchmarsh show – and made an appearance in April this year after learning her tumours were inoperable
She rose quickly through the ranks at the red top, becoming Sun Woman editor and features editor, where she introduced the You The Jury column which gave readers the opportunity to have their say on current issues.
MIRROR COLUMNIST OPENS HER HEART OVER PANCREATIC TUMOUR
Nine months ago, Carroll described how she came to terms with her illness in an article in the Daily Mirror.
Shedescribed how stomach pains experienced while on holiday in California in summer last year led to seeing her GP on returning to the UK and being told the tragic news of her condition.
Shewrote: “How long had this b*****d alien thing been attacking my pancreas – a part of my anatomy I barely knew existed until a surgeon helpfully drew a graphic map of where, at this early and highly optimistic stage, he planned to remove the two small cancerous tumours”
“Ihave a sturdy, supportive bunch of friends who weren’t afraid of tackling the issue head on.
Nor were they surprised when in answer to the question, “How do you feel” I replied: “P****d off.” Of course, thewords “Why me” flitted through my mind. But seriously, since one in three people are diagnosed with cancer every year, it’s been more a caseof “Why NOT me”
“Ask the families who have lost sons and daughters in bomb blasts on a dusty Afghanistan road how bloody fair life is, or those who found their lovedones cruelly and instantaneously snatched from them in the latest earthquake or tsunami. A bit of time and hope seems a luxury by comparison.”
In the articleshe credited the friends she called TeamSue and family with helping herfight the disease involving chemotherapy that caused a stroke and resulted in time spent in intensive care.
“Withoutthem and my good, strong Geordie family I’d have fallen at the first hurdle and I almost certainly would not be writing this today.”
In 1998, Carroll joined the Mirror, where she wrote a weekly column for 13 years, as well as writing major features and interviews.
The popular columnist also made regular appearances on national radio and TV, expressing forthright views on issues from feckless parents to political correctness.
She was a ferociously outspoken features editor who observers said instinctively knew what the readers wanted to hear.
Early into her long stint at the Mirror, she famously lambasted a reporter for using the term petit pois in a story, yelling “Mirror readers don”t eat petit pois. They eat f—ing peas!”
But for all her feistiness, Carroll was known as a warm-hearted person.
Her friend, the comedian Paul O”Grady, described her as compassionate and sensitive, but one tough cookie – an iron fist in a velvet glove.
Mirror editor Richard Wallace called her “part of the heart and soul” of the newspaper.
Mr Wallace said: “Although we knew this moment would come, it is still a great shock.
“Sue had faced her long and painful illness with enviable fortitude.
“Untilthe final few days she was still doing what she loved the most: readingthe papers and giving her inimitable thoughts on the world around us – with, of course, the odd no-nonsense rant thrown in.
“Sue was part of the heart and soul of the Daily Mirror – and had a direct line to our readers.
“But she was also very close to some of us personally. So first and foremost we grieve a great friend.”
Carrollwrote about her illness in a poignant piece for the Daily Mirror in March of this year, where she told how she was determined not to “whinge”, despite suffering a stroke after having chemotherapy treatment.
She described then how weak she had felt, but how the support and strength of her friends and the staff at London”s Royal Marsden specialist cancer hospital had buoyed her spirits.
“But I”m not hanging out the bunting,” Carroll added.
“This bugger is far from beaten but at least it”s behaving itself … I”ll keep you informed in my column again soon. Watch this space.”
Sadly, it was to be Carroll”s final column.
Today tributes continued to flood in from friends, colleagues and celebrities who had worked with the Carrollthroughout her career.
TRIBUTES TO A FLEET STREET LEGEND
Julian Clary: “RIP Sue Carroll. Sue was a warm, northern woman whose humour, courage, sympathy and insight provided wonderful journalism.
John Prescott: “So sad to hear of Sue Carroll”s death. She was a courageous journalist who found stories by talking to people.”
Arlene Phillips: “She showed such kindness to me. My sadness is overwhelming. Sue Carroll, may you rest in peace.”
Richard Madeley: “RIP Sue Carroll. A journalist of the old school – fearless, fair and funny. Loved her.”
Piers Morgan:”RIP Sue Carroll – Fleet Street legend, and wonderfully loyal, warm, funny, passionate friend and colleague. I”ve known few journalists who had such a natural affinity with the readers as Sue Carroll. She shared their hopes, fears, dreams and concerns. She did so with warmth, intelligence, wit and a heart of gold. She fought her illness in the same valiant, courageous and humorous way she fought the normal travailsof life. And the battle was notable for the complete lack of self-pity.”
Barry McGuigan: “Very sad to hear of the passing of my fellow Mirror columnist, Sue Carroll, who died today. Deepest sympathies to her family.”
Sir Bruce Forsyth: Sue was my favourite Press lady, a lady of honour and her word was her bond. I will miss her.”
Barbara Windsor: Sue was not only one of the best journalists in the country, but she hadalso become a friend to both me and my husband. We shall miss Sue, and journalism is an emptier place without her. And on top of that, she was agreat bird. I will always remember the great times we spent at The Pride of Britain Awards, where we always shared a table.”
Dame Ann Leslie:”She was always bouncy, funny and one felt pleasure at seeing her. She was very outspoken and, being a Geordie, had that slightly earthy sense of humour.”
Many had been touched by her honest, straight-talking approach, and admired her honesty and work ethic.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “She spoke the truth to the powerful and punctured the vanity of celebrity: She did it always with courage and common sense.
“In her columns for the Mirror she was the voice of thousands of women. /12/27/article-2078712-0F46DD3A00000578-208_468x652.jpg” width=”468″ height=”652″ alt=”Iron fist in a velvet glove: She was compassionate and warm, but she was a real tough cookie with a razor-sharp wit, friends said today” class=”blkBorder” />
Iron fist in a velvet glove: She was compassionate and warm, but she was a real tough cookie with a razor-sharp wit, friends said today
Comedian and chat show host Paul O”Grady was firm friends with Carroll and in a heartfelt column for today”s Mirror called her “one classy lady.”
“She always told it like it was and never lied,” he said. “And if you were fortunate enough to be interviewed by her then you were always safe in the knowledge that she would never stitch you up. The Lady, unlike some of her contemporaries, was never a bitch.
“On New Year”s Eve I will be toasting a very special lady who I was privileged to have been able to call a friend.
“Rest in Peace, Sue, I”m going to miss you.”
A SELECTION OF SUE CARROLL”S PITHY OBSERVATIONS FROM THE MIRROR”S “REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL” SPOT
– Quarrelling is good for your health, whether it’s a small niggle or a full-blown shouting match – little wonder Jeremy Paxman seems in such fine fettle.
– In order to tell whether a wasp will sting you it’s necessary to look at its face close up. You try first and I’ll watch from a distance.
– Lady Gaga has been accused of not returning four pairs of knickers loaned to her by lingerie store Rigby & Peller. Sorry, but pants “as worn by Lady Gaga” doesn’t quite do it for me.
– Supermodel Agy Deyn eats fish and chips, has kept her Lancashire accent and doesn’t mind showing the world her spots or posing on a beach in a naff bikini. She hasn’t joined any weird cults, released a single or created her own fashion label. What’s wrong with her
– A university professor in Warsaw has been caught offering all his female students 70 for sex. Is this a man’s idea of equality
– New research claims wine keeps you thin, a revelation guaranteed to make the health police deeply unhappy. PS: According to my own research, it helps if you imbibe so much you totally forget to eat anything.
– A new type of garlic which doesn’t result in warthog breath is to be sold at 5.49 for two bulbs. Alternatively, you could always spend 70p on a packet of mints.
– For revealing she went out with one of the Miss Great Britain judges, winner Danielle Lloyd has been ordered to hand back her title. Why the fuss I always assumed bonking a judge (or two) was one of the prerequisites of entering a beauty contest. Another is remembering not to tell anyone.